Boris Johnson recently announced that families can meet during the Christmas period, with three households allowed to form a “bubble” from 23 to 27 December.
During this time, there are certain rules for what bubbles can do when visiting hospitality venues for Christmas dinner or festive drinks.
And when the current lockdown ends, areas in England will once again be placed under regional coronavirus restrictions which have differing rules for hospitality venues.
With Christmas round the corner, here’s everything you need to know about the new rules for visiting pubs and restaurants over the festive season.
Can household bubbles visit hospitality venues?
According to the government website, you will not be allowed to go with your Christmas bubble to hospitality venues, such as cafes, pubs and restaurants during 23 to 27 December.
After lockdown ends on 2 December and before this Christmas period, the rules for going to pubs and restaurants depend on what tier your area is in.
It’s good news for hospitality venues in Tier 1 areas, as pubs, restaurants and cafes can open while providing table service.
The venues must be Covid secure.
The new curfew is 11pm, with last orders at 10pm so customers will have an extra hour to finish their drinks and meals.
People can meet under the “rule of six” - groups of up to six people - both indoors and outdoors in hospitality venues.
The rules are stricter in Tier 2 areas, as pubs and bars have been instructed to close unless they are operating as restaurants.
That means alcohol can only be served at these venues with substantial meals and only table service is permitted, with no ordering at the bar.
However, hospitality businesses can sell food and drink for delivery, click-and-collect or drive-thru consumption after 10pm.
There must be table service only.
In Tier 2 areas, you will only be able to visit indoor hospitality venues with your own household.
For outdoor hospitality, the “rule of six” applies.
As areas placed under Tier 3 restrictions are deemed as “very high alert”, it’s no surprise that hospitality restrictions in these regions are the most strict.
In Tier 3, pubs, cafes and restaurants must remain closed to curb the spread of the virus, and only takeaway services are permitted.
If you are taking away outside in a group, perhaps in a park, the “rule of six” applies.
People have also been instructed not to travel outside a Tier 3 area, which means they cannot enter a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area to visit pubs and restaurants there.
How have the rules become stricter?
Hospitality rules have changed significantly since before England’s national lockdown, which came into place on 5 November.
Previously in Tier 1, the rules were similar except all pubs and restaurants had a 10pm curfew, which has now been extended to 11pm within the new rules.
In Tier 2, pubs and restaurants were able to operate as normal with households mixing, but now only one household can visit and venues are only allowed to open if they serve substantial meals.
While in Tier 3, pubs and restaurants were also open if they were serving a substantial meal, but now they are being forced to close for everything apart from takeaway services.